Thousands of disabled people could be left without support by Coronavirus Bill

By Agencies
March 22, 2020

The emergency Coronavirus Bill is being debated in Parliament on Monday 23 March 2020. Disabled people and carers are very concerned about the impact of the proposed Bill on their lives.  

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) says: "As it stands the Bill poses a serious risk to the lives of many Disabled people, especially those of us who need social care support.

"The Bill will effectively free local authorities of their duties to provide social care support under the Care Act 2014 and will only oblige local authorities to provide support in cases where the human rights of Disabled people will be breached.

"We know from experience that in order for human rights to be breached in social care context the situation has to be very critical or severe."

Under the Bill, the power to recommend individuals be detained under the Mental Health Act would be implemented using one doctor’s opinion instead of two, making it easier for people to be detained. The Bill would also temporarily allow the extension or removal of time limits in mental health legislation, which means individuals might be released into the community early, or find themselves detained for longer.

The National Survivor User Network (NSUN), a network of people who have and do experience mental distress, says: "NSUN is concerned that significant legislative changes are being rushed through with minimal informed scrutiny, and inadequate consideration as to their impact on the lives and rights of people who live with mental ill health, distress, or trauma."

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “We recognise these are temporary measures which should help local services better deal with Coronavirus - but it is essential that councils continue to assess the risks and vulnerabilities affecting carers and the people they support.

“Unpaid carers will be under huge stress currently, taking extra precautions and going above and beyond what they normally do to ensure their loved ones are safe. If they are not clearly recognised and supported during this emergency then more people will become unwell and need support.

“Carers are worried about how they will manage. The Government must ensure that local authorities continue to assess those most in need of care and support plans, including carers, at this time. No-one should suffer financially when they are supporting our health and social care services. The new package of measures must include support for all people who are caring and therefore unable to work.”

* Government information on the BIll here

* An assessment from leading lawyers specialising in Social Care here

* A template letter to MPs here

* Easily write to your MP via Write To Them here

* Inclusion London https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/

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